Microsoft Operating Systems
Windows 8 – First released: October 26, 2012
Windows 8 introduced major changes to the operating system’s platform and user interface to improve its user experience on tablets, where Windows was now competing with mobile operating systems, including Android and iOS. In particular, these changes included a touch-optimized Windows shell based on Microsoft’s “Metro” design language, the Start screen (which displays programs and dynamically updated content on a grid of tiles), a new platform for developing apps with an emphasis on touchscreen input, integration with online services (including the ability to sync apps and settings between devices), and Windows Store, an online store for downloading and purchasing new software. Windows 8 added support for USB 3.0, Advanced Format hard drives, near field communications, and cloud computing. Additional security features were introduced, such as built-in antivirus software, integration with Microsoft SmartScreen phishing filtering service and support for UEFI Secure Boot on supported devices with UEFI firmware, to prevent malware from infecting the boot process.
Windows 7 – First released: October 22, 2009
Windows 7 was an incremental upgrade designed to work with Vista-compatible applications and hardware. Presentations given by Microsoft in 2008 focused on multi-touch support, an updated Windows shell with a new taskbar (referred to internally as the Superbar), a home networking system called HomeGroup, and performance improvements. Some standard applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, including Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery, are not included in Windows 7; most are instead offered separately at no charge as part of the Windows Essentials suite.
Windows Vista – First released: November 8, 2006
Prior to its announcement on July 22, 2005, Windows Vista was known by its codename “Longhorn”. Development was completed on November 8, 2006, and over the following three months, it was released in stages to computer hardware and software manufacturers, business customers and retail channels. On January 30, 2007, it was released worldwide and was made available for purchase and download from Microsoft’s website. The release of Windows Vista came more than five years after the introduction of its predecessor, Windows XP, the longest time span between successive releases of Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. It was succeeded by Windows 7, which was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009 and released worldwide for retail on October 22, 2009.
Windows XP – First released: October 25, 2001
The most common editions of the operating system are Windows XP Home Edition, which is targeted at home users, and Windows XP Professional, which has additional features such as support for Windows Server domains and dual processors, and is targeted at power users and business clients. Windows XP Media Center Edition consists of Windows XP Professional with new features enhancing the ability to record and watch TV shows, watch DVDs, listen to music and more. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is designed to run the ink-aware Tablet PC platform.
Windows 2000 – First released: February 17, 2000 (Entered 5-year end of life phase: June 30, 2005)
(also referred to as Win2K or W2K) is a preemptible and interruptible, graphical, business-oriented operating system that was designed to work with either uniprocessor or symmetric multi-processor (SMP) 32-bit Intel x86 computers. It is part of the Microsoft Windows NT line of operating systems
Versions: Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
Windows NT – is a family of operating systems produced by Microsoft, the first version of which was released in July 1993. It was originally designed to be a powerful high level language based processor independent multiprocessing multiuser operating system with features comparable to Unix to complement workstation versions of Windows that were based on MS-DOS until 2001. It was the first 32-bit version of Windows. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 are the latest versions of Windows NT.